According to Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers, Teresa Ann Payne, 47, of 210 Boynton Drive, faces five counts of armed robbery and one count of auto theft. Summers said the robberies started Dec. 1. Police have not disclosed how much money Payne took during her crime spree.
Quick response of law enforcement and alert witnesses were responsible for Mrs. Paynes arrest (Tuesday) after she committed robberies at H&R Block and Promise Pediatrics located in (Remco Business Center) in Ringgold, he said. Two people at H&R Block were robbed at gunpoint and moments later the suspect robbed the doctors office and fled on a bicycle.
Summers said Payne never actually had a gun but used a lighter that was shaped liked a gun.
A teenage witness saw Payne hide the bicycle behind a house at her Boynton Drive home, Summers said. Shortly thereafter, Ringgold Police and Catoosa County officers arrested Payne.
Summers said Payne is also accused of the Dec. 1 armed robbery of Charter Communications, also in the Remco Business Center, and the Dec. 3 robbery of the Pit Stop at Cloud Springs Road and Interstate 75 in Catoosa County.
According to Johnny Gass, with the Ringgold Police Department, the suspect is accused of stealing a car from a customer at Charter Communications before robbing Charter later that day.
The sheriff added that Catoosa detectives are working with the Walker County Sheriffs Department and have uncovered evidence which links Payne as a suspect in the armed robbery of the Golden Gallon at Park City and Schmidt roads in Walker.
Payne confessed to investigators that the robberies were to support her drug habit, the sheriff said. Summers said investigators found a large supply of prescriptions drugs but no illegal substances at Paynes residence.We were very fortunate to make the arrest, he said. It would have been an ongoing situation for us (because) she would have probably continued.
Summers said detectives were investigating another female suspect when they were led to Payne.
It is very unusual that you see a female robber, he said. We knew that we were dealing with someone that wasnt your classic robber.
According to the sheriff, Georgia law calls for a maximum sentence of 20 years for each count of armed robbery. Payne could face up to 100 years behind bars, not counting the auto theft charge.The witness who reported seeing Payne park the bike is eligible for a cash reward for assisting the authorities. Summers said the Catoosa County Crime Stoppers is an organization that uses drug condemnation money to reward outstanding actions by citizens in helping solve or stop crimes. The payout varies depending on the type of crime involved, the sheriff said. Summers said the teenage witness could receive a reward of $300-$400.
Payne is currently being held at the Catoosa County Detention Center and no bond has been set.
CLICK HERE: Express your opinion. Send a letter to the editor.
CLICK HERE: Get all the local news and sports with a subscription to The Catoosa County News